Saturday 21 January 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Billy Has a Birthday by James Minter

Billy Has a Birthday
Series: Billy Growing Up, Book 1
Author: James Minter
Genre: Children's Fiction / Middle-Grade

Book Description:
Bullying is an issue in many children’s lives. This book will help to make your child bully-proof.

Billy Field celebrates his tenth birthday with his school friends, but Eddy Jost is upset at not being invited to the party. When Billy receives a special present from his granddad Eddy finds out, and wants it for himself. Using bullying tactics Eddy takes the present, leaving Billy devastated. And worse, Billy feels he has to keep his loss a secret from his parents and granddad.

Max Turner, Billy’s best friend's sister, wants to help Billy, and she tells Billy's granddad. Max and Granddad hatch a plan to recover the present.

What is Max’s plan? Does the bully get what's coming to him? Will Billy get his present back?

Billy Has A Birthday is the first title in the Billy Books series. Each book addresses a unique topic—bullying, arrogant pride, jealousy, lying, stealing, lack of self-belief, understanding money, and secrets. Written to help parents, guardians and teachers deal with the issues that challenge pre-teen children, each topic is presented in a gentle way through storytelling. Setting the issues in a meaningful context helps children to understand the challenges, and to see things from a different perspective. The books act as icebreakers allowing for discussions on difficult subjects. Additionally, each title is supported by a free activity book to reinforce the learning, while having fun.

Buying this book today will support your child in the battle against bullying; a destructive and unpleasant behaviour.

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I haven't read many middle-grade books in my adult life, but after reading Billy Has a Birthday, I might have to reconsider my choices in literature. I did not anticipate how much I would love this book. It was simple, straight to the point and just a jolly good read.

It's Billy's tenth birthday, and he's having a party with a few friends. All goes well with the party, but Billy soon has a run-in with a friend's elder sibling, Eddy, and ends up having to hand over the birthday money his grandfather slash magician The Great Magisco gave him. With the skills of The Great Magisco and his assistant, Max (the sister of Billy's best friend, Ant), Eddy gets a well deserved lesson in bullying and winds up in trouble with the law.

This is a book for the whole family. There are some good lessons to be learned and the characters are a hoot. Although it took me about three chapters to be convinced, it was definitely worth the read. Along with the characters, I loved the dialogue. Some mention of the law may go over young readers heads, but it wasn't too overwhelming, and I think it will challenge young minds to enquire into matters unfamiliar to them. Overall, the  subject matter is relatable and morally inspiring. The only problem I had with the book were the consistent grammatical and punctuation errors. They weren't a huge turn-off, but I did notice them as they kept cropping up throughout. I look forward to reading the other books in the series.



Award: Gold
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Source: Own copy


  1. Many thanks for the review and spreading the #antibullying message...